As you may have read over the weekend, this happened:
So, I’m back to being single, and 34, and all that entails. < sigh >. I truly believe that running can teach us about life, and as much as I wanted to stay in all weekend with Bridget Jones’ Diary (seriously, that video was me) and eat Haagen Daz, I knew I had to force myself out for a run. More importantly, as someone who takes a stand for the positive impacts running can have on our lives, I knew I had to look at how running was going to fix this. At about mile 4 of my 8 miler, I had it down to three things.
So here is what running has taught me about fixing a broken heart.
1. Get Grateful - GRATITUDE
I know this is going to make my Brit’s furious, but it was stunning weather in LA this weekend – blue skies, sun, and a lovely sea breeze:
As I was running, I realized how lucky I was to live here and that little bit of gratitude really shifted my perspective on life. You see that little bit of gratitude I had for the weather turned into a little bit of gratitude for my health, and that turned into a little bit of gratitude for having a fit body to even do an 8 mile run in the first place. It built and built in my head till all of a sudden, I wasn’t feeling so sad.
When I got home I wrote out a full gratitude list a daily exercise I share over email with some amazing friends. It looked kinda like this:
- I am grateful for the amazing year I had with my ex- one of the best years I’ve had in my life really.
- I am grateful that I was able to say goodbye with dignity and grace. (Kinda, there may have been some tears)
- I am grateful that I don’t have to resort to self destructive habits to deal with this.
- I am grateful for the sadness I feel, because it reminds me that I’m human and have lived, and have loved.
- I am grateful I have friends to support me through this.
- I am grateful that I am able to risk everything and fall in love in the first place.(It was worth it, even though it sucks right now)
- I am grateful that someone so fragile and beautiful was ever interested in me in the first place!
- I am grateful for the birds chirping, the sun shining, the blue skies that reminds me that life will go on.
- I am grateful that I am healthy and fit and get to go run these feelings off.
It’s so easy for us to focus on what we don’t have, that we forget about how much we do have. Running was a great reminder of this.
2. Getting my grip to the ground – EXERCISE
There’s two things here:
First, my diet and upping my miles slowly has lead me to lose 6lbs in the past week so I’m feeling skinnier and more attractive, so running is just adding to that slow build of self esteem that comes with working out. By the time summer comes, I will be in PRIME pool party form and probably have the Zac Effron Body I ordered for Christmas.
The second is that we now know to be true that exercise is basically nature’s anti-depressant, feel-good brain chemicals like adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin and endorphins are released when we work out. I’m doing a Paleo diet right now, and it seems to me that ‘depression’ is something we’ve only been dealing with recently as our society gets less and less active. I don’t think our ancestors were crippled with depression, and on their stoney sofas checking out the cave window to see if their ex is sending them smoke signals, like I’m checking my phone obsessively.
Struggling to get off the couch and run is so worth it, and I felt almost euphoric for the rest of the day.
3. Get Present- MEDITATION
I’m currently working on making meditation an important part of my life, a practice which I’m trying to bring in to running with this amazing book:
As I ran, I tried to put into practice what I had learned and got ‘really present’ to my run. I realized as I was running that the ‘pain’ or ‘hurt’ that I feel is actually in the past or the future – and if my mind stayed present to what was going on this second, then things shifted for me:
When I think about the past, – I get nostalgic and sad. I really miss my best friend. I think of all the fun times we shared, the trips around the world and the great memories we had.
When I think about the future, I get into fear- I’m worried about not finding someone else, I’m worried what my parents are going to say, I’m worried about what being single says about me, and I’m also worried about my ex.
The past and the future are really what is causing me to suffer, so I realized that running, and being in the now, has never been so important to me.
When I get present to the now, to the feeling of the sun on my skin, to the rhythm of my breathing, the coolness of the water in my hand, all of a sudden, that pain starts to go. And even right now, as I type this, I’m utterly absorbed in what I’m doing, how my fingers dance over the keyboard, and how I’m slumped(badly) into my chair, and when I’m focussed on right now – there is no pain right now, and actually, right now, I have everything I need.
How do you get over a broken heart and what has running taught you recently?